It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to master your instrument. Even if you’re putting in the hours, practicing may feel fruitless. Everyone hits a wall at some point. It’s the nature of being a musician that the further you develop your skills, the harder it is to reach the next level. That’s why it’s important to set realistic practice goals that actually develop your skills and keep you on track to reaching your end goals. Whether you’re an intermediate player trying to maintain and improve their skills, or an absolute beginner, here are a few tips for setting music lesson practice goals.
Make Time to Practice Daily
You can’t master anything overnight. It’s widely held that it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice to truly master something. The best way to meet your required hours, it to practice daily. You may see diminishing returns after the first hour or so. Plus, most people don’t have the time to spend hours practicing. That’s why it’s best to set aside 45 minutes to an hour. You won’t get fatigued, and it’s easier to focus on the task at hand. Practicing every single day isn’t required, but it will help to keep you limber. The same way a bodybuilder will start to lose muscle if they don’t continue to eat well and work out, a musician will become rusty if they don’t keep up on their instrument.
Balance Old and New Material
Practicing the same scale over and over again won’t make you a virtuoso. If you’re putting in the hours, it’s important to balance old techniques with new material. It’s good to warm up with technical exercises that you already know at the beginning of your practice session, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Even if it’s just a different scale, the best way to make progress is to tackle the unfamiliar alongside the known. Learn a song in a different style, do exercises that seem outside of your grasp, and keep adding new techniques to your musical arsenal.
Set Short Term Goals
Whether you want to be a rock star or a classical soloist, it’s important to focus on short term goals. Break down your long term goals into a manageable timeline. Even if your short term goals are just a certain number practice hours per day, it will give you some sense of accomplishment every week. If you start feeling overwhelmed, don;t be afraid to readjust and try something else. You can always revisit a song or technique later on. You may find it well within your grasp once you’ve gotten a few more wins under your belt.
Revisit The Fundamentals Often
The fundamentals aren’t just for beginners. Foundational skills like scales, sight reading sheet music, and keeping tempo are important for all musicians. You at least need to know the rules before you can break them creatively. That’s why it’s important to practice with a metronome. Focus on using the correct techniques when playing and playing musically when practicing. Maintaining a solid foundation will make advanced techniques easier to learn, practice, and master.
Look to The Pros
Everyone has a musician, composer, or artist that they look to for inspiration. It’s not always that exciting to practice the fundamentals, so it’s good to spice things up by playing material from artists that you respect. A lot of famous musicians also do workshops where they break down their techniques. You can often find videos and clips on YouTube that may be helpful for getting inspired.
Looking for Music Lesson Practice in Los Angeles?
Adam’s Music is your friendly neighborhood music shop in West Los Angeles. We have a wide variety of instruments and musical equipment for sale or rent. We also offer a free, half-hour introductory music lesson over video chat. If you’ve always wanted to pick up a new instrument or brush up on your technique, now’s a perfect time! Contact us today to arrange a free online music lesson with one of our teachers.